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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects

How to Make Gradient Text in Illustrator

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
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What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps, you will learn how to add a gradient to text in Illustrator using two different methods.

What You'll Learn in This Gradient Text Tutorial

  • How to add a gradient to text in Illustrator via a non-destructive fill
  • How to add a gradient to text in Illustrator via a destructive fill
  • How to apply a gradient to a text outline in Illustrator

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final Illustrator gradient text, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You Will Need

You will need the following resource in order to learn how to apply a gradient to text in Illustrator:

1. How to Add a Gradient to Text in Illustrator (Non-Destructive Fill)

Step 1

There are two methods that you can use to apply a gradient to text in Illustrator. For the first method, select your text and go to the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Click the Add New Fill button and make sure that the newly added fill stays selected.

Move to the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and click the gradient thumbnail or the gradient slider to apply a gradient across all text in Illustrator. Once you've applied it, you can edit the gradient or the text as you wish.

apply gradient text illustrator

Step 2

Take a closer look at the text, and you'll notice a subtle pixelated outline. This happens because of that original text color which still lies underneath your gradient.

To fix this issue, all you have to do is remove that color. Go to the Appearance panel and double-click the Character button to access the text settings. Click the Fill color wheel and remove the color using that [None] swatch. To return to the Appearance settings, click the Type button.

apply gradient text illustrator

2. How to Add a Gradient to Text in Illustrator (Destructive Fill)

Step 1

For the second method, select your text and go to Type > Create Outlines to turn the text into editable vector shapes. Now, you can apply a gradient to the resulting shapes, but the gradient will be applied separately, on each letter shape.

To apply a uniform gradient on the entire text, you need to turn your group into one vector shape. Open the Pathfinder panel and click the Unite button, and then turn the resulting shapes into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make or Control-8).

add gradient text illustrator

Step 2

With your compound path selected, move to the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and apply a gradient across all the text in Illustrator. Once you've applied it, you can edit the gradient as you wish, but not the text.

add gradient text illustrator

3. How to Apply a Gradient Outline to Text in Illustrator

Step 1

You can also apply a gradient outline to your text in Illustrator.

If you used the first technique to apply a gradient to text in Illustrator, select that text and simply hit the Shift-X keyboard shortcut to switch the Fill and Stroke attributes in the Appearance panel. Increase the stroke weight to make the outline thicker.

You might have noticed that the outline is overlapping at some points. This simply happens because Illustrator applies a stroke to each character. To fix this issue and apply the outline to the entire text, select the Stroke from the Appearance panel and go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add.

apply gradient text illustrator outline

Step 2

If you used the second technique to apply a gradient to text in Illustrator, select that compound path and use that same Shift-X keyboard shortcut to switch the Fill and Stroke attributes in the Appearance panel.

add gradient text illustrator outline

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here's how it should look. Now that you know how to add a gradient to a font in Illustrator, you can use these techniques in your future projects. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve any Illustrator gradient text.

gradient text illustrator

Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!


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